If you want to improve your life, you must overcome alcoholism and substance abuse. An estimated 13 million Americans suffer from substance abuse, with 2 million problem drinkers. If you belong to this group, then you must put it behind you to advance your life.
More Than a Health Risk
When it comes to addressing this issue, most people are vaguely aware of the health dangers, as well as the social cost to their relationships, but they often think that they have these well-under control. Consequently, they tend to think of their alcohol and substance abuse problem as manageable.
However, one thing they often do not consider is the financial costs of drinking and driving.
These financial costs can quickly spiral out of control.
Driving Under the Influence
When it comes to unknown or little-known factors that can negatively impact your life, getting a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) has to rank fairly high. In the United States, 1.4 million first time offenders are arrested for a DUI.
Alcohol-related driving violations are punished severely by the law because it costs the public about $114.3 billion a year. In fact, an innocent motorist is killed by a drunk driver every half hour!
The DUI Nightmare
After an arrest, you must go to a court hearing within a week or two. In 50 states, you will get a DUI if you have BAC (Blood Alcohol Count) over 0.8. Anything over will result in a conviction. If you’re a first time offender, you will be charged with a misdemeanor.
The severity of your sentence depends on state law, your BAC level of impairment, and whether or not you caused an accident that resulted in bodily harm or death. Some mitigating factors are good character references, military service, and your willingness to participate in DUI classes and treatments.
Ignition Interlock System
In 14 states, you will need to get an ignition interlock system for a DUI offense. This will cost you $200 to be installed in your car, with a maintenance fee of $80 a month.
When you get into your car, you will have to breathe into a Breathalyzer to start your car and to keep it running because this system is connected to your car engine.
If the ignition interlock system detects alcohol in your breath, it will disable the ignition. Some systems will even make your car honk continuously and its headlights to flash. This will alert any passing police car and you will get a second DUI.
The cost in Money and Time
Fees and Fines
As a first time offender, your costs can range from $6,000 to $15,000 in court fees, fines, and other incidental costs.
Loss of Time
Besides losing money, you will also lose time. This might result in the loss of your job; or, if you keep your job, it will result in loss of earnings when you can’t work.
There are two ways that you will lose time: by going to jail and going to a DUI educational program.
You may or not face jail time depending on the decision made by the judge on the severity of your traffic offense.
However, you will always have to get instruction at a DUI educational program. Again, there is a fee, here, too. You will have to spend $250 to take a class to get a chance to get your driving privileges back. After your court date, you have 21 days to sign up at a state-approved school. The program will take away 12 hours from your life that you could be enjoying a lot more.
Driving Privileges and SR-22 Insurance
In as many as 42 states, getting a DUI as a first time offender can result in suspension of your driving license.
In order for you to get your driving privileges reinstated, a judge may permit you to get sr-22 insurance. Since this will increase your insurance significantly, often as much as 30% more, it’s advisable to get affordable sr22 insurance.
Even if you do manage to get your driving license back, it does not mean that you get all your previous driving privileges back. You will receive a restricted license. This means that if you are stopped by the police again, you must show proof that you have enrolled in a DUI educational program, as well as show proof of sr22 insurance. Eventually, when you are allowed to return to full driving privileges, you must pay $250 in reinstatement fees.
If you have a problem with alcoholism, do not drive a car, even if you think you’re fine. The penalty is heavy. You risk getting a DUI, risk injuring or killing yourself or other motorists, risk jail time, and risk losing your job. You will also have your driving license suspended and will face many heavy fines and fees.
It’s far better to learn to recover from alcoholism than have to deal with the many unexpected perils to your health, wealth, and well-being awaiting you.